03-30-2009 02:26 PM
03-30-2009 02:27 PM
Cindy, hate to tell you, but even wells need pumps. I would have been happy with a hand pump in the kitchen, but turning on the faucet, give me a break. That's city water or an electric pump. I'd like to give the author the benefit of the doubt, but this is sloppy research and it detracts from the believeablity of the book. If we're supposed to get involved with the thesis that these women were in fact witches, we'd better have confidence in the author. Otherwise bill it as a fantasy and be done with it.
Why isn't it possible that in the 6 weeks before she went out to stay there that she had the water turned back on by the city?
03-30-2009 02:28 PM
First off let me say WOW what a great read.
My first impressions of the characters in chapters 1-6 is in the present I like them all except Dr. Chilton and of course the old biddy in the will and probate dept. (she probably retired from the DMV).
Any way Chilton just seems to have some ulterior motive for asking the question in the exam if she thought maybe the women were really guilty of witchcraft and then when she went to him with the parchment found in the bible and he had that strange phone call, I just get the feeling that he's connected to the mystery somehow.
In the 1600's It's really too early to tell who to like or not except for Goodman Petford, but I get the impression that Deliverance was some sort of other worldly person wether witch or sorceress that's to be seen, but I wonder why she healed the judges toe or are we just lead to believe that that happened.
The truth in the 1600s did not involve research just speculation and accusation and the truth tended to lean toward the side of the wealthy.
Connie and Liz compliment each other, keep each other from being too consumed with their own studies and of course their both females so that's a bond right there in the staunch Harvard environment.
Right now I'm leaning toward Arlo being Connie's familiar and I think her daydreams are some sort of link to the past where she's seeing her grandparents and people further back in time.
While Connie takes several paragraphs to describe witchcraft, Sam brings it to a one sentence really a two word description social anxiety.
03-30-2009 02:30 PM
-Sir Richard Steele
03-30-2009 02:37 PM
I didn't think the house thing was very believable, either. In a small town, this house would've attracted notice. And I especially didn't buy the part where Liz turns on the faucet, and water comes out! The city would've turned the water off years before, if no one is paying the bills on the house. Plus, if the water was still turned on the pipes probably would've frozen and burst during the winter. And then there's the part where Connie is feeling on the wall for a light switch. Surely she would've realized the house would've had the power turned off long ago, if no one is paying the bill?! It was very convenient when it turns out the house isn't wired for electricity anyway.
The plot point that was hardest for me to accept was the contrived way that Connie ended up at her grandmother's house in Marblehead. They could abandon it and not pay taxes for twenty years, and it's available, untouched (no squatters or kids making drug deals or anything) for Connie to clean, but it has to be done RIGHT NOW or ELSE? And then Grace is able to talk Connie (who seems to be remarkably focused and clear-headed about her school work) into doing it with almost no difficulty?
I didn't have trouble with it because I think we being lead to believe there is something other worldly going on here. So there majik in the works here too.
03-30-2009 02:42 PM
My favorite character thus far is Connie. I am not very fond of Prof. Chilton. He is sneaky and definitely up to something.
I loved the descriptions of the gardens. Yes, it is odd that they would find tomatoes growing in an abandoned garden but this did not take away from the story. I found the garden to be mysterious and I wanted to know more about the house.
03-30-2009 02:47 PM
I have to agree. The chapter on the house was a serious turn off. Poor research, or we're reading a fantasy. If the latter is the case, it would be nice to publicize it that way.
Maybe I was wrong, but I assume right away that it was somewhat fantastical.
03-30-2009 02:51 PM
This is a well written book - this is my first overall impression. I know a lot of vocabulary & I was impressed with Katherine's writing voice. I also am enjoying her detailed descriptions of plants, trees, & flowers. I like Connie as a character - her emotional impressions & sensitivity to the natural world, human interactions & otherworldly occurences is good development for the reader to prepare themselves for what's to occur. I like how both the New Age Grace & "traditional" occulist Sophia are both strong & intuitive women in their own right -- although they both seem a bit difficult to get along with as well.
Connie is smart & instinctual, I can relate to her personality. Although sleeping in an old dusty house would give me the creeps & no electricity would be something I just couldn't deal with!!!
The jumps from modern MA to puritian America are handled well & I enjoy spending time in both periods of history (1991 is definitely not the PRESENT!)
I'm impressed so far....thanks again for this opportunity First Look
03-30-2009 03:01 PM
I like Liz. I think she is quite down to earth, despite working toward a Ph.D. in Latin. A juxtiposition there, I think.
Sam. Smart, witty, (in my mind- handsome), with a bad-boy image of a sort. I like him as well.
Goody Dane has healing qualities, that are admired, it seems. Why else would Pet. Petford aks to come to try to save Martha? She goes into my like column as well. Mercy, I am not decided as of yet, but think that she is admirable in her way.
P. Petford. He wants to save his daughter, and is unsure why God would torment an innocent. (p. 5) Predictibly, and with what I already know about the witchtrials, I don't like him.
I mostly agree with this poster (I think it was Liisa?). I think Chilton knows something about Connie, and is hoping that she can get at some special tidbit of history for him. Almost like he is using her - it seems like he is going to present something "big" at the conference. What I don't get yet is how he knows Connie is special.
Liz is cool - a good roommate and friend to have. I know she is teaching a summer class, but she seems more absent than I think a friend would be - her interactions with Connie in the summer seem a bit limited. I hope she gets more involved.
I love Sam. He turned Connie all around by being something completely different than she assumed. I like that he doesn't hold that against her, but still throws himself into helping her. I like the budding romance.
I can't say that I have particular feelings towards any of the Danes yet. For some vague reason, I'm not a fan of Mercy. I do agree with many posters that Connie is related to her, and that the Dane's dog is a reincarnation of sorts of Arlo. I'm trying to be good by only reading the current discussion chapters, so I'm hoping that the rest of the book causes more of a reaction within me towards the Danes.
Peter is a dad who is looking to place blame for his beloved daughter's death. I don't yet blame him, but he had to know what his accusations would mean for any woman in Livvy's shoes.
I strongly dislike Grace. She should take an active interest in her daughter's life! Forgetting the qualifications was horrible. I understand why Connie doesn't particularly care for her. I was wondering why Connie seemed to think she HAD to call Grace though, near the end of the selection.
03-30-2009 03:15 PM
I really was able to dig right into this book. Connie is a person who tries to be the opposite of her mother. She is strong, well educated, goal orientated, and a straight laced person. I personally found the character of Professor Chilton interesting(ok, I'm a decendant of the Mayflower Chiltons). At first he seems to think that Connie is wasting her time but as the story continues he is intrigued as well. I think that he will play (I could be wrong) an interesting role in the whole mystery.
When one uses the word truth, I always think of Indiana Jones' description of fact(history)/ truth(philosophy). History is defined as the memory of things said and done, we always have to dig and flesh out what is available to us. Cultures morals and idologies change through time. We always(not intentionally) view the past through what defines us, our values, our beliefs, and our knowledge. The two interogation scenes definitely have similiarities.
Grace, Connie's mother, is an interesting character. She is definitely a child of the 60's, she is very "new-age". Right away I compared her with Deliverance, yes they lived 300 years apart. What would Salem have considered her, a middle-aged single woman with a limited income?
I think the three characters of Liz, Arlo and Sam humanize Connie. All three bring out different aspects of her character. I think that Sam will by far be the most important. He is an intelligant man who decides to live a bit differently than expected. His perspective helps Connie wonder what defined witchcraft in 17th century Salem. I think that his showing her that stone carving is going to help define and decide as the story continues.
03-30-2009 03:18 PM
03-30-2009 03:26 PM
I am enjoying this book. It has more "fantasy" in it than I expected, but it is still enjoyable.
Tha author's descriptions are so vivid and detailed I feel like I am in the book.
I feel that Arlo sought out Connie and has some connection to the past.
The vivid daydreams are also a connection to the past(very Harry Potterish).
I think Connie and Liz are great friends. They complement each other.
I am most turned off by the character of Grace. She doesn't seem interested in her daughter. She is self-centered and expects Connie to be the responsible one and take care of things.
03-30-2009 03:29 PM
I think we tend to read too much, or too little, into what an author has put down in print. We can speculate all we want. I don't think it is a lack of research on Ms. Howe's part about the house, garden, water. The house is what it is. Perhaps all of this is foreshadowing; we'll not know until later.
I agree with you.
03-30-2009 03:38 PM
03-30-2009 03:40 PM
Like many who have posted, I am really enjoying this book! I think Howe's ability to slide back and forth through time is wonderful and I look forward to going back and picking up each story line. I like Connie and think she is strong in alot of ways, but also naive. She and Liz sound like the "Odd Couple", but seem to balance one another out. (Don't we all need someone like that?) Arlo, however, I don't see as playing too big of a role, yet. It is early in the book.
Professor Chilton is definitely up to something!! Deliverance is similar to Connie in strength. Perhaps we'll draw more connections as we read on. Connie's mom is flighty. I was sad that she didn't remember Connie's big day. Not a very encouraging past.
Like otheres, I was also perplexed by the abundant garden and the condition of the house. It is amazing that the home could survive 20 years and only have vegetation and dust to deal with.
Sam was a great introduction into the book. He'll match well with Connie's "New England/Harvard" personality. It will be fun to watch this relationship develop. I think her need for an "excuse" to contact him is because of her lack of experience with men.
I look forward to reading more!
03-30-2009 03:44 PM
As I'm going through this book, I'm thinking that maybe it's been a longer time than I realized since I've been in college! I was always a bit of a geek, so I can relate to Connie's passion for the work and social awkwardness. I can even see why she and Grace seem to clash so much. But for the life of me I can't see how she (and Liz) would decide to spend a night at a house they had never seen before without checking ahead to see if it electricity, a telephone.... or even a solid floor to walk on. Wouldn't there be rats, spiders, snakes (more than the one token garden snake) and wouldn't she want to at least get a chance to sweep through the place before deciding to crash on the floor for the night? I can buy the magic of the house, but Connie's careful research and attentiveness to detail for work were at total odds with how she acted with the house.
Other than this, I am really enjoying the book. Did anyone else pick up on the shock she received when she picked up the bible and the key came out? This wasn't really explained, so I suspect it's a clue of something coming down the road.
The other piece I liked was the opening chapter. The author did a good job of pulling you into the book and giving you a background on how the people in 1690-era Salem approached everyday life. Well done.
03-30-2009 04:01 PM
I love this book so far. At first I didn't care for Connie, but I am growing to love her. She is all business. She fits into Harvard very well. I don't really see the point of Liz yet.
The first impression I got of Chilton was that Connie has a crush on him. He is up to something, but good or bad I cannot yet say. Probably bad.
I am hoping Sam will be a more involved character. He kind of had a passing mention and now , aside from passing thought, he has been forgotten.
I love the description of the house and property. Some things are a little stretched, but I think it just adds to the magic! I am really enjoying it so far.
Overall, the book reminds me of a young adult series Sweep by cate teiran.
03-30-2009 04:01 PM
Did anyone else get the feeling that Professor Chilton is up to something? Something about the way he kept smiling at Connie in their meeting when she showed him the paper with Deliverance Dane's name written on it struck me as odd. I'm not sure if he's just a little condescending to her or if there is something more. I think my suspicions were also heightened when Connie overheard him yelling on the phone. When she asked him about his project for the Colonial Association, he just played it off saying there was more time for that later and started smiling at her again. Interesting how at the end of the meeting the only word she could use to describe his smile to herself was "hungry".
The descriptions in this book are wonderful. They are so vivid, they make you feel as if you are really there. I'm loving this book so far. Very well written!
I got the distinct impression that he was up to something, but not romance. I felt he was kind of setting her up for something that he was interested in, rather than what she might be pursuing for her dissertation. I think he is hungry for recognition.
So far I am enjoying the characters quite a bit, even Arlo. The are developing nicely. The house looks like it is going to be a strong character, too. I look forward to the rest of this book!
03-30-2009 04:41 PM
I am really enjoying this book! But I do agree with the other posters about the house and garden. I laughed out loud about edible tomatoes in mid June when, here in Rhode Island, a state bordering Massachusetts and a bit south, I don't even plant until Memorial Day, as the last frost can come after May 15th! So no way could there be a tomato in that garden UNLESS, as others have said, the whole house and property is under a protective spell, which would also explain why no water pipes have burst and why there have been no break-ins by vandals and why no one has yet seized the house for non payment of state propery taxes...well, you get the idea!
I agree that Arlo is Connie's familiar. I thought that right away when he approached her. And I was pleased to see Connie researching the probate wills to see the personal property listings, as this is something I have done myself and know it to be a fantastic source of information.
One thing I've had a bit of trouble with was the 1682 Salem trial where there were many female witnesses reading their hand written statements. I thought back then that women were not as literate as men and that, even if the women could read, having been taught from the Bible, they most likely would not have known how to write. I would appreciate knowing if anyone has information on this, as I tried to research it and couldn't find much.
But all in all, it is a most entertaining story and I am looking forward to finishing it!